news 2014



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Physics - 26.12.2014
Simple model explains complex problems in an ageing heart
Simple model explains complex problems in an ageing heart
Scientists at Imperial College London have developed a model that helps explain why we are more likely to develop an abnormal heartbeat with age. The simple mathematical model also suggests why current treatments for the condition are not always successful. The model mimics how heart muscle tissue changes as we get older, focusing on how the muscle cells in the heart link together to pass electrical signals that create the heartbeat.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 19.12.2014
Origin of polar auroras revealed
Origin of polar auroras revealed
Researchers from UCL, University of Southampton and Cambridge University together with ESA and NASA have uncovered the origin of a colourful display in the night sky called 'theta aurora', explaining for the first time how auroras at high-latitudes form. Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the sun's effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 12.12.2014
Researchers use real data rather than theory to measure the cosmos
Researchers use real data rather than theory to measure the cosmos
For the first time researchers have measured large distances in the Universe using data, rather than calculations related to general relativity. A research team from Imperial College London and the University of Barcelona has used data from astronomical surveys to measure a standard distance that is central to our understanding of the expansion of the universe.

Physics - Environment - 12.12.2014
Composite plane life cycle assessment shows lighter planes are the future
Composite plane life cycle assessment shows lighter planes are the future
A global fleet of composite planes could reduce carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent, but the lighter planes alone will not enable the aviation industry to meet its emissions targets, according to new research. The study, by the Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge and University College London, is the first to carry out a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of a composite plane, such as the Boeing Dreamliner 787 or Airbus 350, and extrapolate the results to the global fleet.

Physics - 04.12.2014
Research could improve nuclear power plant safety - and stop your kettle furring up
Taking inspiration from nature, researchers have created a versatile model to predict how stalagmite-like structures form in nuclear processing plants - as well as how lime scale builds up in kettles. “It’s a wonderful example of how complex mathematical models can have everyday applications,” said Dr Duncan Borman, from the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds, a co-author of the study.

Chemistry - Physics - 01.12.2014
New chemical sponge has potential to lessen the carbon footprint of oil industry
UK scientists have discovered a ground-breaking technique with the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of energy used in the refinement of crude oil. Professor Martin Schröder and Dr Sihai Yang from The University of Nottingham have led a multi-disciplinary team of scientists from Nottingham, the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) ISIS Neutron Facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Diamond Light Source, to discover a porous material that works like a chemical sponge to separate a number of important gases from mixtures generated during crude oil refinement.

Chemistry - Physics - 26.11.2014
Protons fuel graphene prospects
Our structure (research) Impact of our research Postgraduate research 26 Nov 2014 Graphene, impermeable to all gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it, University of Manchester researchers have found. Published in the journal Nature , the discovery could revolutionise fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons – hydrogen atoms stripped off their electrons – to pass through.

Physics - 26.11.2014
Exploding Higgs boson could light up particle hunt
Online volunteers are being asked to spot tiny explosions that could be evidence for new particles that will require new models of physics. Higgs Hunters [ ], a project launched today by UK and US scientists working on the ATLAS experiment, enables members of the public to view 25,000 images recorded at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

Physics - Life Sciences - 24.11.2014
Our bodies keep unwelcome visitors out of cell nuclei
Our bodies keep unwelcome visitors out of cell nuclei
The structure of pores found in cell nuclei has been uncovered by a UCL-led team of scientists, revealing how they selectively block certain molecules from entering, protecting genetic material and normal cell functions. The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs against viruses that target the cell nucleus and new ways of delivering gene therapies, say the scientists behind the study.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 18.11.2014
Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang, say researchers
Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang, say researchers
New research by a team of European physicists could explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle - discovered at CERN in 2012 and responsible for giving mass to all particles - have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion of the very early universe (inflation) should have led to instability and collapse.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 17.11.2014
Discovery of the World’s Oldest Water
A Lancaster University scientist has helped discover the oldest water yet found on Earth, important for understanding life on Earth and Mars. The record-breaking discovery, made under the Timmins mine in Ontario, was featured in the journal. Dr Greg Holland, of Lancaster Environment Centre, along with scientists from Manchester University and two Canadian universities have found pockets of water that have been isolated from the outside world for more than 1.5 billion years.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 06.11.2014
Neutron stars could shine new light on universe expansion
Astrophysicists have developed a new way to use gravitational waves to measure the expansion rate of the universe. In a paper published in the journal Physical Review X, the international research team outline how they have developed highly advanced computer simulations to use special types of neutron stars to learn more about the fabric of the Universe.

Physics - 28.10.2014
Sussex physicists find simple solution for quantum technology challenge
Sussex physicists find simple solution for quantum technology challenge
Sussex physicists find simple solution for quantum technology challenge A solution to one of the key challenges in the development of quantum technologies has been proposed by University of Sussex physicists. In a paper published today (28 October) , Professor Barry Garraway and colleagues show how to make a new type of flexibly designed microscopic trap for atoms.

Physics - Health - 24.10.2014
Time for change - additional daylight saving could improve public health
Press release issued: 24 October 2014 New research, published just before British Summer Time ends, shows that proposals to permanently increase the hours of waking daylight could increase children's activity levels. Having later sunsets may lead to an increase in children's physical activity, according to research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Bristol.

Life Sciences - Physics - 22.10.2014
Pioneers of infrared ‘fingerprinting’ publish in Nature
Researchers who pioneered a new type of biological analysis have published an important new paper , opening the door to further advances in their field. Biospectroscopy - which emerged in the mid-1980's - is an excellent method for biological analysis offering an alternative to traditional microscopy for cell analysis and medical diagnosis of conditions from endometriosis to cancer.

Life Sciences - Physics - 21.10.2014
Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants
21 Oct 2014 Scientists at The University of Manchester hope a major breakthrough could lead to more effective methods for detoxifying dangerous pollutants like PCBs and dioxins. The result is a culmination of 15 years of research and has been published in Nature. It details how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants.

Physics - 10.10.2014
Spin with a new twist
Scientists have successfully demonstrated a new way to control the "spin" of an electron - the natural intrinsic angular momentum of electrons which could underpin faster computing in the future. The technique counterintuitively makes use of the ever-changing magnetic field of the electron's environment - one of the main obstacles to traditional methods of spin control.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 09.10.2014
Mapping the weather on WASP-43b
Two new studies have been used to make the most detailed weather map for a planet outside the solar system, where typical daytime highs reach 1500 degrees Celsius and winds exceed the speed of sound. The atmosphere of such a bizarre world provides a unique laboratory with which to acquire a better understanding of planet formation and planetary physics Nikku Madhusudhan A team of scientists, including astronomers from the University of Cambridge, have made the most detailed map ever of the temperature of an exoplanet's atmosphere, and traced the amount of water it contains.

Physics - Chemistry - 07.10.2014
Breakthrough allows researchers to watch molecules "wiggle"
A new crystallographic technique developed at the University of Leeds is set to transform scientists' ability to observe how molecules work. A research paper, published Methods, describes a new way of doing time-resolved crystallography, a method that researchers use to observe changes within the structure of molecules.

Physics - Life Sciences - 07.10.2014
’Endless possibilities’ for bio-nanotechnology
Scientists from the University of Leeds have taken a crucial step forward in bio-nanotechnology, a field that uses biology to develop new tools for science, technology and medicine. The new study, published in print today in the journal Nano Letters, demonstrates how stable ‘lipid membranes’ – the thin ‘skin’ that surrounds all biological cells – can be applied to synthetic surfaces.
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